Editor’s Introduction 20(4)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 20, Number 4,  Summer 2016, pp. 441-442.

How do consumer expectations become adjusted after an online purchase? This adjustment is likely to lead to loyalty—or away from it. Moreover, electronic word of mouth might lend resonance to the delight—or to the disappointment. The authors of the first article in this issue, Chinho Lin and Watcharee Lekhawipat, devise and empirically validate a comprehensive model of post-purchase adjustment of expectations. Grounded theoretically in the expectancy disconfirmation and customer-value dimensions, and bifurcating the consumers into groups with high and low online shopping habits, the model surfaces unobvious guidelines for e-commerce practitioners.

What is the role of members’ sense of community in the sustainability of social network sites that are community platforms? Stanislav Mamonov, Marios Koufaris, and Raquel Benbunan-Fich address this question in the context of Facebook. The authors develop a nomological network and operationalize the “sense of community.” Their validated model proves the centrality of this individual perception and of the construct that reflects it. The authors show that this sense affects community well-being (information contribution and consumption, along with self-disclosure and member interaction) and leads to the absence of intent to exit the community. Theoretically important, the findings also give strong suggestions to the developers of online communities.

Does head or heart rule donor behaviors in charitable crowdfunding? This is the title question of the study by Rob Gleasure and Joseph Feller, who seek out the distinctions between these online donation marketplaces and their traditional equivalents. The authors build up their investigation into online giving theoretically by discriminating between the rationalistic perspective of a more or less delayed reward for charity on the one hand and the normative one of pure altruism or the “warm glow” of self-esteem on the other. Pursuing their exploratory study with the empirics on a crowdfunding site, the donors behave differently when they give to an individual, as opposed to giving to an organization. They also surface meaningful distinctions in donor behavior in this nontraditional environment. The opportunities to match donor motivations with donation targets should be increased consequent to these insights.

How can consumer response to advertising via short message service (SMS) be enhanced? Fan-Chen Tseng and Ching-I Teng posit that consumer carefulness in reading SMS ad messages leads to a higher-level response. The key to the contribution here is in the theoretically grounded parsing out of the construct of reading carefulness and in finding the antecedents that lead to it. Notably, explicit permission to receive the messages is a major influence. The results should encourage advertisers to be more selective and inventive in imposing claims on consumer attention via SMS.

How do physicians’ reputations, online and offline, affect their number of online appointments? What is the role of the reputation of the organization with which a physician is affiliated? These questions are addressed by Xiaoxiao Liu, Xitong Guo, Hong Wu, and Tianshi Wu in the concluding study in this issue. Because health-care service is a credence good, the provider’s reputation is a key factor in consumer behavior and, consequently, the physician’s economic performance. The study indicates a strong influence of reputation on this performance as well as the direct and indirect influence of the reputation of the hospital with which the practitioner is affiliated. Beyond the obvious, the study contributes to reputation and signaling theories.